Obesity and Health Risks
Bariatric / Obesity Surgery

Obesity and Health Risks

When we compare a person with normal weight to those with obesity, the obese are prone to many life-threatening disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some type of cancers. Though the list below is not exhaustive, it gives a fair idea of health risks associated with obesity.

  • Type 2 Diabetes: People with obesity run the risk of insulin resistance where insulin produced by the body is not used effectively. This leads to high blood sugar which can damage the body extensively in the long run. This would include irreversible damage to vital organs, gradually rendering them dysfunctional.
  • Heart Attack: Obese people are more prone to heart attacks than people with normal body weight. Obesity also attracts other heart conditions including congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythm, angina or even sudden cardiac death. The reason being obesity translates to excessive amount of body fat which means higher levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This creates the ideal recipe for developing heart conditions.
  • Cancer: Excess body weight is linked with risk of cancer to several organs including colon, oesophagus, pancreas, breast (in postmenopausal women), and kidney.
  • Osteoarthritis: Obesity can cause rapid wear and tear of the weight bearing joints. This can cause inflammation and decreased mobility.
  • Stroke/high blood pressure: Obesity is one of the main culprits behind high blood pressure. It is a known fact that the higher the body weight, higher the blood pressure which in turn leads to heart attack, kidney damage or stroke.
  • Heartburn: When obesity takes over, oesophageal valve is an immediate casualty, which results in weakening of the valve muscles. This paves the way for eash entry of stomach acids into the oesophagus causing heartburns. With even mild infrequent symptoms of heartburn, chances are that this will develop into Barrett’s oesophagus, a pre-malignant condition which affects the lining membrane of the oesophagus.
  • Sleep Apnoea/respiratory problems: Obesity does not spare any body parts, not even the neck or tongue for that matter. This can cause severe obstruction to passage of air causing disturbed sleep rendering the person fatigued for the rest of the day.
  • Depression: An obese person is the subject of ridicule among friends, colleagues or even family members. There is an higher chance that an obese person may face discrimination at work which can affect the person’s emotional well-being. This paves the way for psychological problems including depression.
  • Urinary stress incontinence: Obesity can lead to weakening of the valve of the urinary bladder. This can result in uncontrolled urination during coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities: Obesity is the usual suspect when it comes to irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal menstrual flow and increased pain during the menstrual cycle.
  • Infertility: Obesity in men more often than not can be the cause of reproductive hormonal abnormalities, infertility and sexual dysfunction. Among women, it can trigger ovulation problems and even infertility in women with normal ovulation. It can also be linked to miscarriages and unsuccessful attempts at assisted reproductive technologies and pregnancy. Studies show that women who are morbidly obese are less like to attain pregnancy than women with normal weight or overweight.